You know what they say. The fourth time's the charm.
The first meeting saw Pac-Man exhibit the domination that has turned him into arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter of this generation from the very start, as he knocked down the Mexican three times in the first round. But Marquez battled back in the later rounds and forced a draw.
Pacquiao scored wins in the next two by split decision and majority decision, but both could have gone either way.
Over the past eight years, these two veteran boxers have been as even as the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers, but all of that is going to change on December 8.
They often say that motivation—just like they say about pretty much every other trait—can be a great equalizer, but in this case, it will help Pac-Man separate himself from Marquez.
I can't remember the last time a favored boxer entered a fight with so much criticism and doubt on his side.
Consider the "loss" to Timothy Bradley, the disappointment of not fighting Floyd Mayweather, the politics and endless other distractions. People say Pacquiao has lost a step and won't be focused on this fight, but that's only going to make him work that much harder to once again prove his worth.
A motivated Pacquiao is a dangerous Pacquiao.
Partly because of that motivation and need to silence the critics, don't be surprised if Pacquiao comes out with a flurry.
It certainly wouldn't be against his style, as he's been known to constantly bring pressure and has out-punched Marquez by right around 100 in each of the three previous fights.
This strategy will likely hurt Pacquiao's defense and ability to truly dominate in the later rounds, but he has the hand speed and power to truly wreck Marquez, who continues to lose speed, in the early going.
While Dinamita's strong chin and Pac-Man's recent inability to knock anyone out point to this fight once again going the distance, don't be surprised if the pride of the Philippines wins all of the early rounds and strolls to a unanimous decision win.
Marquez deserves an abundance of credit. He's 39 years old and has 61 fights under his belt, yet he continues to box at a high level.
Just earlier this year, he strolled to an incredibly impressive unanimous-decision victory over then 30-1 Serhiy Fedchenko.
There's clearly plenty left in Dinamita's tank.
But at some point, his age is going to show. I'm banking on that happening on Saturday.
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